Belfast Telegraph

Number of tuberculosis cases in Northern Ireland increases by a third

By Michael McHugh

The number of cases of tuberculosis (TB) in humans has increased by almost a third in Northern Ireland.

The rise followed a relatively low number the previous year. About half those affected were born outside the UK.

New drug-resistant types of the serious lung infection have emerged which are more difficult to treat and can result in higher death rates, the Public Health Agency (PHA) warned.

Last year 97 cases were reported compared with 74 the previous year.

Dr Michael Devine said: "The risk is that we become complacent, and with new drug-resistant types of TB evolving, it is essential that we maintain vigilance and know what to look out for."

Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is a major public health concern worldwide as it is more difficult to treat and can result in more serious disease with higher mortality, Dr Devine said. Globally, about 5% of TB cases are estimated to be resistant.

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